Teachers say Manchester principal sexually harassed them - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Teachers say Manchester principal sexually harassed them

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Chris Bugbee (Facebook) Chris Bugbee (Facebook)
Odyssey Community School (WFSB) Odyssey Community School (WFSB)
MANCHESTER, CT (WFSB) -

A Manchester school principal is facing serious allegations after a handful of teachers have come forward claiming he sexually harassed them and has been abusing his power.

New documents were released on Monday after the teachers shared their stories of what happened.

Now they are demanding Odyssey Community School Principal Chris Bugbee’s teaching certification be revoked.

Six teachers have come forward, with five women claiming they were sexually harassed by Bugbee, and one man who said he witnessed it.

According to their testimony, they said "Mr. Bugbee would invite and encourage teachers, specifically female teachers to join him at local bars and restaurants after school." 

Another complainant said "Mr. Bugbee would initiate drinking games,” and some included “Truth or Dare” and “strip beer pong.”

They went on to say “Those who were in his favor were part of a secret group called the ‘IC’ for Inner Circle. Teachers in the ‘IC’ were paid a higher salary and received many other acts of favoritism..." 

Another said "I personally witnessed Mr. Bugbee sit next to a female teacher and watched him put his hands all over her body including her thighs while making sexually suggestive comments and jokes." 

And another said "I personally witnessed Mr. Bugbee ‘massage’ another female teacher's breasts at a Friday afternoon get together.”

The harassment at the Manchester charter school was reported in 2014 and again last year.

The victims went to the Connecticut Education Association, which is a teacher’s union that represents 43,000 Connecticut teachers.

The victims said this harassment has been happening for years. They said Bugbee sent staff an email apologizing for his actions at a 2012 Christmas party.

According to documents, Bugbee said "I feel I need to email everyone to apologize for my behavior at the party last night. I woke up this morning feeling ashamed and embarrassed." 

He went on to say "I reached an intoxication level last night that was unacceptable and unprofessional,” and added "I also am aware that I can be flirtatious with some people when I drink too much. I am so sorry if that has made anyone feel uncomfortable and I promise you it won’t happen again." 

The state’s Department of Education is now involved after the 2015 allegations, saying "We have a profound obligation to provide safe, positive school climates that nurture student learning and support educators. We take this matter very seriously. Commissioner Wentzell has authorized the State Department of Education to move forward with the process by conducting an investigation.”

The school sent parents a letter saying the Board of Trustees put Bugbee on administrative leave.

The Board of Trustees hired an independent investigator to look into the claims. That investigator told Eyewitness News that he didn’t find enough substantial evidence.

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